Archive for the ‘library board’ Category

The Newest Salado Public Library Trustee

I was set to re-open this blog to my campaign for election to the Salado Public Library Board, but it looks like that won’t be necessary. With three openings and three candidates, there won’t be an election. I’m looking forward to serving on the board. This is an exciting time as the library looks to expand. The other new Board Member is the President of the Friends of the Library and has a history of service to the library. We will join the only incumbent running for re-election.

It was a joy to get the news from my father, a library board incumbent who chose not to run for re-election. Even though I didn’t have to run and rely on the support of the community, he still said he was proud of me. Now matter how old I am, I’m still delighted when I make my father proud.

But I am a bit disappointed that there won’t be an election for several reasons. First, I am a library-lover and I know that many in the community feel a great fondness for our library. I would love to see that support exhibited by a large pool of candidates for the board. Secondly, an election, while an expense for the library, reminds the community of the role that the library plays. The interviews with board candidates published in the Salado Village Voice forces the candidates to think deeply about their positions on issues critical to the library and highlights these issues to the community. Lastly, I’m going to miss the candidate’s forum. It was a good discipline for me to put my platform into a speech to the community. Perhaps I should write one, anyway!

But, of course, those are minor disappointments. Mostly I am just thrilled that I will have the opportunity to work with my colleagues in serving the community to make the Salado Public Library the Best Small Village Library in the World.

Read Full Post »

Notes on Services to Seniors from a LIbrary Information Conference in San Diego

I am writing this from a boat in San Diego where we are about to have a presentation on Discovering Buried Treasure: Teaching Strategies for the Aging Population led by Juliet Kerico and Susan Frey from Indiana State University. This is part of the LOEX Conference for instructional librarians. Earlier today I attended a workshop on using podcasting and videocasting to introduce people to the resources of the library.

I figure between these two sessions, I will have lots to say about how the Salado Public Library can expand its services and the ability of teens and our senior population to tap into those resources. I know that there are resources housed in the Salado library that the public does not know about or do not fully know how to use. I also know that a number of interest areas, such as basic computer skills, could be augmented through innovative instruction and broader use of technology.

The Discovering Buried Treasure presentation was led by two instructional librarians from Indiana State University. The reference library department started a program teaching seniors, but learned lessons that they are applying to their library instruction courses on campus. ISU embarked on this project with senior citizens because it has a strong community engagement component – even to the point of expecting that the work of the university will benefit the local community. The library conducts programs for the community, provides a neutral space for community conversations, and other seminars on an almost weekly basis and has received a Carnegie classification as Curricular Engagement and Outreach category. One outreach effort to the senior community was the Dewey Institute, which teaches information literacy to seniors and eventually led ISU to offer programming at the Westminster Village Retirement Community in Terra Haute called, Bits and Bytes.

The focus on the Bits and Bytes was issue-based rather than skills-based. For example, the participants might use the internet to learn about medicare, health issues, or privacy. The format initially started with a 30 minute traditional lecture with power point slides printed out as handouts, followed by a trip to the lab. The structured series did not seem to work well because the participants were frequently interrupting to ask specific questions moving ahead of the steps, talking off topic (as the presenter noted, “chaos ensued”), while the lecture was very low-keyed and less interactive. To address why this was occurring and why it seemed to bother the course leaders, but not the participants, the ISU librarians used Martinez’s Learning Styles which documents four learning styles:

  • Performers: persistent, impatient to perform, want to do well, willing to challenge the methodology.
  • Conformers: want routine, will wait until shown next step
  • Transformers: highly motivated, want to learn, willing to challenge relevancy, not interested in the grade.
  • Resisters: extremely intelligent, but not interested in classroom work.

What ISU learned is that the elders they were working with are primarily Performers and Transformers, the two categories most willing to challenge. This required the instructors to change their perspective and approach. There was a mismatch between the teaching style and the learning style or learner preferences. The changes they made:

  • Eliminate lecture
  • Introduce a theme and have a lesson plan, BUT
  • The class owns the lesson and the instructors will go with the flow

What was fascinating is how these library instructors used what they learned from the senior classes in their own classes with university students. For example, they began encouraging storytelling to help make a connection between what students were learning and their own experiences. One tool they used was to engage the students in collaborating in creating a fictitious student who needs research assistance. That becomes the starting point for learning. In this way, the on-campus class owns the learning.

Not surprising, these innovative instructors saw the opportunity to draw in student volunteers into their work with the seniors. The Westminster site is now a field site for professors and students.

I am excited about applying some of the lessons learned by these two library instructors in the Salado Public Library. I will encourage our librarians and community volunteers to lead issue-based computer workshops for our seniors and will be standing by to offer advice based on what I have learned from this presentation. Obviously we will need to be sensitive to the learning styles of seniors and how we may need to adapt our own preferences. We will also need to find out what seniors are interested in learning – genealogy, privacy and identity theft, online banking, evaluating online resources.

Read Full Post »

Taylor’s Platform Reported in Salado Village Voice

The Salado Village Voice gives each of the candidates in the three local elections…Village Alderman (restricted to only those within the official Village limits and not including me), School District (a much wider district) and Library Board (mirroring the school district board map.) In other words, you have to care about the school board and/or library board to even show up. Anyway, I digress. The point of this posting is to share with you the comments I wrote in response to the questions posed by the Village Voice. I was limited to 100 words and it was one of the toughest writing assignments I’ve ever tackled, primarily because I think that these are the wrong questions to ask.

None of these questions give the candidates an opportunity to share their values or decision-making strategies. These questions do not tell us why someone is qualified to be on the board. (Unless you think that one who checks out lots of books MUST know how to run a library.)

None of these questions challenge potential board members to articulate a vision for the future and a strategy for addressing the growing challenges that rural libraries face and the amazing opportunities technology can bring (under the trusted mantle of the library) to our remote regions.

None of these questions ask us to describe our strategy for keeping our citizens apprised of the encroachment of land-grabbing towns and how to effectively embrace the growing population of rural dwellers/city workers.

None of these questions talk about funding strategies, sustainability, innovative programming, future growth, economic development, growing tourism, sense of place, civic initiatives, etc.

None of these questions provided a means for me to paint the grand and glorious landscapes that I believe can be the picture of our library. None of these questions asked me to share the 14 points so eloquently stated by the Project for Public Spaces that I shared in an earlier blog.

No, these questions did not do any of the things I hoped they would…things that could provide our voters with good decision-making information about how to best exercise their democracy. But at least I learned (I think) how to take the wrong question and turn it into the right question with limited verbage.

Does that make me the worst kind of politician or is that a positive thing to do?

Read Full Post »

Forum Introduces Candidates

On April 12, the Salado Chamber of Commerce provided an opportunity for the candidates for Village Aldermen, Salado Independent School District and Salado Library Board to make short statements and take comments from the public. Here’s the report of my speech by the Salado Village Voice with minor clarifications and additional information in parenthesis and italics:

Taylor Willingham
Taylor Willingham said that she is running for the Library board because she wanted to do something that would have a long and lasting impression in her own community.

“I have the skill, talent and expertise to put me in the position to contribute to the causes of the library,” she said.

She is a member of the Texas State Library (I was a consultant to the Texas State Library and am a member of the American Library Association), has worked on public television programming for Bill Moyers and is (was) the treasurer of the National Literacy Coalition. (I was also an ALA presidential appointee and founding member of the American Library Association’s Committee on Literacy and a mayoral appointee to the Fremont Library Advisory Commission.)

Willingham serves on the Salado Education Foundation board and is active in literacy programs around the state and nation.

The library, she says, is vital to a community. It is a place people can go to “feel connected to others.”

“At the library, you can see a single mother go on-line to pursue a degree while her child does homework next to her or reads in the children’s section,” she said, adding that the library gives opportunities for people to expand their knowledge and expertise.

Willingham is a professor of library sciences. “I spend a lot of time thinking of the library of the future and how it will continue to be an important part of the community,” she said.

Willingham said that because she believes that “An informed citizenry is the most important prerequisite for a democracy to function,” she will, if elected, “have a passion that I will bring to the position.”

Read Full Post »

Two Amusing Stories About My Bid For Fame

How’s that for a title? I’m not really bidding for fame, but if I were, then these stories that take me down a notch would be even funnier.

First, I was invited to participate in the Salado Public Library’s Local Author night. I’d never pitched myself as an author even though I’ve written numerous articles (See my vitae) and five book chapters which, as I said in another blog post:

If the chapters had ANYTHING in common, I could put them together and have a whole book to myself, but I’ve never had the attention span required to publish a full book.

The other reason I would not have pitched myself as an author is that I’m not really sure who would be interested in reading what I’ve written! But my dad threw my hat into the ring so there I was for an evening of cheese and punch with eighteen other local authors. (There is SOME talent in this town!) Mom introduced me to a woman named Nell who remembered reading all about me in the newspaper recently when they announced my civic entrepreneurship fellowship. Oh, she just couldn’t say enough about how smart I am. “Yes,” she said, “You must be smart because I don’t understand a thing you do or say!”


Earlier tonight my mother called to tell me that someone who heard me speak at the candidate’s forum last week not only commended my speech, but also said that everyone he talked to felt the same admiration for my qualifications.

This is where mom should have said, “Thank you and I do hope you will vote for her and tell your other friends.” But she wanted to pave the way for a soft landing in case I am not elected so she said, “Well, she is talented, but may not be as well known as the others…still…I’m sure she’ll be an asset even if (emphasis ALL mine!) she is not elected.” (Now I know why you pay handlers to keep your staff and family “on message!”)

After little contemplation, he countered (hopefully not TOO enthusiastically), “Well, if she’s not elected, then perhaps she’ll serve on the Cemetery Board!”


Not a criticism of the cemetery board. That’s probably an interesting – and quiet – board. After all, this is an historic community and most of the stakeholders don’t complain much. But I worry about campaign slogan that goes something like this:

“Don’t elect her, she’ll do the job anyway AND still have time to serve on your board!”

So my reputation thus far is:

  • We don’t understand what she does so she must be smart.
  • Even if she’s not elected, we still love her.

Hmmm, I guess I can live with that, after all.


Read Full Post »

A Brief History of the Salado Public Library

[Many people in the village of Salado may not know the history of the Salado Public Library. The following excerpt from library planning documents is a concise summary of the high points in this small library’s short history.]

In 1985 a committee of the Salado Chamber of Commerce was appointed to establish a village library. A Board of Trustees was formed to seek a state charter and to find appropriate library space. With the help of consultants from neighboring libraries and the Central Texas Library System, the Salado Public Library was created in 1986 and opened its doors to patrons on November 7, 1986 staffed entirely by volunteers. The initial collection of about 1,000 books was donated by citizens of Salado and other libraries in Central Texas. The Salado Public Library became a member of the Center Texas Library System in 1987.

As the community and library use grew, larger quarters were required. In the fall of 1993 the Library moved into 1,700 square feet in the Salado Civic Center, a former school building. The collection contained nearly 8,000 items. The Library’s automated catalog allowed patrons to search the collection. One Library computer was dedicated to genealogy and another to Internet use. Volunteers ran the library until 1995 when the first paid part-time certified librarian was hired.

Because the village was unincorporated there was never any tax support for the library. All operating expenses were met through donations, gifts and memorials, and fund-raising activities. In May 1998, the Salado Public Library District was created by a vote of the citizens of Salado. The Salado Public Library was the second library in the state to benefit from new legislation allowing the creation of library districts. A one-half percent sales tax now provides most of the operating revenue for the library.

In March 2003, the library moved in to its beautiful, new 4000 square-foot building located at 1151 N. Main. The staff of the library is now two part-time librarians, a full time director and a part time library assistant. Regular volunteers at the library number more than forty. The Friends of the Library organization was regenerated in 2006 and continues to grow in members and support for the library.

The current estimated population of the Salado Public Library District is 9000+, with more than 1200 students in the school system. The community continues to grow each year by nearly five percent. Usage metrics for the library have more than kept pace with population grown with year over year increases of almost 10% in 2005 and 2006.

Read Full Post »

A Correction…Already!

In my last post, I noted that I was the only challenger because the most recent edition of our weekly newspaper only listed the two incumbents with me as the sole challenger. Apparently, the paper left out the name of the other challenger who had been listed in previous editions. I know this because the notification of “order of listing on the ballot” just came out and sure enough, there are four names listed. So, my apologies for not mentioning the other “challenger” in my last blog. I was only going by what my paper said…which just goes to show you that we STILL (perhaps even more) need librarians for information. We know the best intentioned newspapers make mistakes, but a librarian would hunt out information like a hungry bloodhound but wouldn’t pounce on it without verifying the primary source or evaluating its credibility.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »